USC, UCLA Set to Join the Big Ten in 2024 Creating 2nd Super Conference

The Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Thursday to admit the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) of the PAC-12 Conference to the Big Ten Conference, effective Aug. 2, 2024, creating the nation’s second national super conference that is expected to command more than $1 billion in television revenue.
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Once an occasional opponent for Michigan and Michigan State, USC could become a fixture on their schedules when the Trojans, and their cross-town rival UCLA, join the Big Ten in 2024. // Courtesy of USC
Once an occasional opponent for Michigan and Michigan State, USC could become a fixture on their schedules when the Trojans, and their cross-town rival UCLA, join the Big Ten in 2024. // Courtesy of USC

The Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Thursday to admit the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) of the PAC-12 Conference to the Big Ten Conference, effective Aug. 2, 2024, creating the nation’s second national super conference that is expected to command more than $1 billion in television revenue.

The news follows the moves of football powerhouses the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) that established the country’s first super conference. Texas and Oklahoma start SEC play in 2025.

The timing of the announcement isn’t a coincidence. The Pac-12’s media rights contact deal is set to expire in 2024 and the Big Ten is negotiating a new deal that experts predict could exceed $1 billion annually.

USC and UCLA are two of the Pac-12’s most recognizable brands and are located in the nation’s second largest media market.

The additions will give the Big Ten a coast-to-coast footprint.

“As the national leader in academics and athletics for over 126 years, the Big Ten Conference has historically evaluated its membership with the collective goal to forward the academic and athletic mission for student-athletes under the umbrella of higher education,” says Kevin Warren, commissioner of the Big Ten.

“The unanimous vote today signifies the deep respect and welcoming culture our entire conference has for the University of Southern California, under the leadership of President Carol Folt, and the University of California, Los Angeles, under the leadership of Chancellor Gene Block. I am thankful for the collaborative efforts of our campus leadership, athletics directors and Council of Presidents and Chancellors who recognize the changing landscape of college athletics, methodically reviewed each request, and took appropriate action based on our consensus.”

University of Michigan Interim President Mary Sue Coleman and Athletic Director Warde Manuel issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to confirm this decision and extend a warm welcome to our newest members, both of which are renowned research universities, members of the Association of American Universities, and championship-level athletic departments.

“In the coming days and months, and ahead of UCLA and USC officially starting Big Ten Conference competition, there will be many logistical questions and considerations for the membership to carefully consider. We will be inclusive and thoughtful in the many important aspects of our new conference makeup with a full commitment to a positive student-athlete experience and fiscal sustainability to support our mission.”

Although the primary, if unstated, reason for the conference realignment is football revenue, the Big Ten also would benefit from the addition of UCLA’s storied basketball program.

The addition of the two universities remains subject to negotiation of final terms.

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